Karl Marx and the Critique of Bourgeois Philosophy

Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 79:229-246 (2005)
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Marx launched a revolution in social thought that has been largely ignored. We locate this revolution in the context of two major reassessments of modern philosophy, Heidegger’s Being and Time and Donald Davidson’s new anti-subjectivism. We argue that the philosophical significance of Marx’s critique of the capitalist mode of production—his critique of the bourgeois horizon—has been overlooked. The paper exposes the bourgeois mindset that runs through political economy, “traditional” Marxism, and much of modern and postmodern philosophy. Bourgeois thinking is marked by a series of “purist splits,” conceptual distinctions that are mishandled as actual separations: conceptual vs. empirical, conceptual scheme vs. thing in itself, individual vs. society, production vs. distribution, preference vs. the preferred object, and subjective vs. objective. Marx shows how capitalist social forms that produce the notion of “value added” inculcate the purist, bifurcating bourgeois horizon.



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J. Patrick Murray
Creighton University
Jeanne A. Schuler
Creighton University

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